Andes virus associated with hantavirus pulmonary syndrome in northern Argentina and determination of the precise site of infection.

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  • 1 Departamento de Virologia, Instituto Nacional de Enfermedades Infecciosas, ANLIS Dr. Carlos G. Malbrán, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (HPS) has been documented in the Salta and Jujuy provinces of northern Argentina since 1991 and 1997, respectively, accounting for almost 50% of the cases of HPS reported in this country. Andes (AND) virus, specifically the AND virus Nort lineage, was previously associated with human disease in this region. Genetic analysis of viral medium RNA segments obtained from 18 HPS cases showed the existence of three AND virus Nort sublineages co-circulating in these two provinces. They showed a nucleotide sequence diversity of up to 11.1% between the sublineages. The putative site of infection of one of these cases (Sal3/97) was determined. A 100% nucleotide sequence identity was observed between the viral sequence found in patient Sal3/97 and in two virus-positive Oligoryzomys chacoensis captured in the same place where the case lived and worked. These results indicated the putative site of infection and identified this rodent species as the source of infection.